Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Freezer Dinners from Spaghetti Sauce

Bulk Spaghetti Sauce
Yield: 13 cups

In large stock pot mix:
2T canola oil
2 onions, chopped
2 t. garlic, minced
2 lbs browned Italian sausage (buy Jimmy Dean bran in a tube, less expensive)
2 lbs browned hamburger

Drain the meat mixture then add:
1 (106 oz) can spaghetti sauce can from Costco or 5 jars (28 oz) commercial spaghetti sauce
1 (106 oz) can of diced tomatoes or 2 (28 oz) cans Italian-style diced tomatoes
4 (2.4 oz) cans sliced black olives (optional)
3 T Italian seasoning
1 T dried basil
1 T salt
1/2 T pepper

*Sauce is used for lasagnas, manicotti, ravioli and can be frozen for spaghetti or pizzas. When defrosting pour off extra liquid.

Chicken Manicotti
Yield: 2 9x13 or 4 8x8 (directions are for 9x13, but I split it down more into 8x8)

1 T garlic powder
1-1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
2 boxes (8oz) manicotti shells
4-5 cups bulk spaghetti sauce
1 lb Jimmy Dean Italian sausage, cooked and drained
4 cups (16 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup water

1. Rub garlic powder over chicken; cut into 1 in strips. Stuff chicken into manicotti shells. Spread 1 cup spaghetti sauce in each of two greased 13x9 baking dishes. (use aluminum ones from store so you can freeze them in container)
2. Place eight stuffed manicotti shells in each dish. Sprinkle with sausage. Pour remaining spaghetti sauce over the top. Sprinkle with cheese.
3. Drizzle water around the edge of each dish. Cover and bake one casserole at 375 for 65-70 minutes or until chicken juices run clear and pasta is tender.
4. Cover and freeze remaining casserole for up to 3 months.

To serve: Thaw in the refrigerator, 24 hours and bake at 375 for 65-70 min. You can also bake frozen at 350 for 2 1/2 hours.

Yield: 3 8x8 lasagnas or 2 9x13

1 (16oz) box lasagna noodles divided into three 8 inch aluminum containers
4 c mozzarella cheese, grated
1 (24oz) container cottage cheese (or ricotta)
1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
10 c bulk spaghetti sauce

Don't pre-cook noodles

In three greased (or lined with aluminum foil) 9 inch aluminum baking dishes, make layers in the following order.
1. 3 noodles (break to fit pan)
2. cottage cheese (or ricotta)
3. mozzarella cheese
4. nickel sized cream cheese plopped evenly all over
5. sauce, and repeat

Wrap pans with foil, label, and freeze

To serve: Bake frozen for 2 hours at 350 degrees or thaw overnight in the fridge and bake 350 for 45 min. Take off cover for final 10 minutes of baking. Let stand 10 min before serving. Lasagna will be a bit watery but this is normal. Pour out all but a little water, the rest will soak into the sauce overnight.

Cheesy Ravioli
Yield: 3 9x13 sized dinners
3 bags (13 oz) frozen cheese ravioli
10 cups bulk spaghetti sauce
3 c mozzarella cheese

To Serve:
1. Thaw 10 cups bulk spaghetti sauce completely.
2. Boil frozen ravioli for 5 min. Pour 1/2 c sauce on the bottom of 9x13 pan
3. Drain ravioli, then place in pan. Completely cover the ravioli with remaining sauce and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.
4. Cover; bake 350 degrees for 30 min. Uncover and cook 10 more min. Let stand 10 min before serving.

Sorry that was so long! It seems intimidating, but the sauce doesn't take that long to make, then I just assembled the rest and froze them. I did it all during one nap, so it's not as bad as it sounds and it's nice to be able to pull one out of the freezer when I don't feel like making something. Let me know if you have any questions.

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